Every English learner would like to speak fluently. If I wanted to speak English fluently, I’d try to spend time with native English speakers. If I could sit and listen to them, I’d find what I was looking for. New vocabulary. When to use one word rather than another. How to pronounce words I’m still having trouble with. When to use formal or informal language. I’d hear how they use their voices to emphasize important ideas. And how their voices change when they’re angry, excited, or in love. In short, I’d pick up almost everything I need to speak better English.
“But,” you say, “I can’t do it. There aren’t any native English speakers near me or, if there are, it’s impossible to spend time with them.”
Well guess what? Yes, you can!
The truth is, you can spend time with native speakers any time you want. And it’s much easier than you think. Here’s how: audio books. If I wanted to speak better English, I’d spend as much time as I could listening to English audio books.
English audio books are a great resource for ESL students. As you are beginning to acquire and build your language and reading comprehension skills it will be important to also learn pronunciation and to understand the language as it is spoken. You can find a variety of English audio books online for free or for a small fee. Depending on the type of stories you are interested in—you will need to search for topics or authors that will provide you with an engaging experience.
When you listen to books you are able to follow along with the text and hear how an English speaker will pronounce different words you are unfamiliar with. This is the best way to learn new vocabulary and how to use specific grammar skills when speaking, reading and writing. English audio books provide an easy way to listen to a variety of action packed stories and then practice your reading comprehension skills. Once you have listened to the English audio book—you should be able to answer questions about the story that will reflect your understanding of the material. Once you are able to do this accurately—you should be able to move up to the next level.
Another benefit to English audio books is listening to the language spoken at different speeds. Since many people do not speak slowly with many pauses in between words—you will need to increase the speed that you understand the English language. The easiest way to do this is to find English audio books that offer one to three different speeds that you can listen to. As you gain confidence in your reading skills—you will be able to move up to a normal speed and still be able to understand the stories being read.
Overall, an English audio book is the perfect solution when you are learning the English language. Not only will you be able to practice your comprehension, but you will also learn the correct pronunciation of many everyday words. Get started today.
The Benefits of Using Audio-books to Learn English are:
- You can repeat any part of the book as many times as you want. You might be afraid or embarrassed to ask people to repeat themselves, but you can repeat an audio book over and over (and it will never get annoyed).
- You can “read” the book as slow or fast as you want. Listen to only one paragraph a day, or read an entire book in a few hours. When you’re talking with a real person, you can’t really tell them to share only half of their story today and the rest tomorrow—but you can stop an audio book wherever you want to.
- You can choose any accent, gender or speed that you want to listen to. Do you have trouble understanding people with British accents? You can listen to an audio book read by a British person to practice. Want to understand New Yorkers better before moving there? You can find that, too. Audio-books have so many different kinds of voices to choose from.
- You can listen to audio books any time. You can listen on your way to work or school, during breaks or even right before bed. It’s like having somebody read you a bedtime story!
Now that you’re interested in audio books, where do you start?
First you have to choose the Best Audio-books for You!
There are many audio books to choose from, on every topic you can imagine. You can find classic literature in audio book form, English learning books or modern literature. You can listen to someone talk about dinosaurs, airports or 16th century Italy—whatever you’re interested in, there’s an audio book for that.
When you’re choosing an audio book, look for something you would enjoy reading. If you already own the book or e-book version of the audio, that’s even better because you can read along if just listening is too difficult.
To find your reading level, try listening to adult fiction. If it’s too hard to understand, read young adult fiction instead. Still can’t follow along? Try a children’s book. Children’s audio books are wonderful learning tools because they are meant to be understood by listeners who might not know all the words.
Where to Find Audio-books?
You can find audio books all over the internet, some even for free. Here are just a few places to start with:
Audible: This is one of the largest audio book websites. It’s owned by Amazon, and has over 150,000 books for you to listen to. It’s not free, but it does have a free 30-day free trial, and if you discover that you love audio books, it might be worth getting a subscription.
Project Gutenberg: If you’d rather not pay for audio books yet, you can look around Project Gutenberg. This website is known for its collection of free e-books, but it also has a nice selection of audio books.
Librivox: This is website of free audio books exists thanks to volunteers from around the world who read books aloud for the site, thus recording audio books. It has some great books to choose from.
Librophile: Librophile provides completely legal free audio books for both mobile and PC. You can browse the latest book by keywords, genre or language. Listen to chapters online, or play a sample before downloading it. Librophile offers many free audio books and eBooks of different genres from Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” to “Romeo and Juliet”.
Lit2Go: Lit2Go has a big and free online collection of poems and stories in MP3 format. You can easily search for audio book titles here by genre, author or collection, and they even grade a book’s readability for your children by Flesch-Kincaid grade levels. 🙂
LearnOutLoud Free Audio: Listen to over 5000 free audio books with topics in politics, religion, philosophy, science and many more in LearnOutLoud.com. There are also great lectures, sermons and interviews to download.
Loyal Books: Get all-time-favourites like “Moby Dick” and “Oliver Twist”, and other public domain books from this site. Loyal Books offers a diverse collection of books from many different genres, which are suitable for children and adults alike.
Wait that’s not all! If you just listen to audio books, you will learn something. But to really learn the most that you can, try using these tips:
One mistake you can make when taking notes is writing too much. So instead, write down only things that will help you later when you look at your notes. Write words and expressions that you don’t know.
If you are trying to understand the story, write important events or names of characters. If you’re stopping your audio book every couple of words to write, you are writing too much. Listen, learn and only write the most important things.
If you own a copy of the book you are listening to, read along with the audio. Reading along makes you concentrate completely on the words. To practice pronunciation, stop the recording once in a while and read what you just heard out loud. Try to match the pronunciation of what you just heard. Can you do it?
How well did you understand the book you just listened to? The best way to find out is to talk to other people about it. You can do that by joining online communities where you can talk about your books, like Goodreads or Online Book Club.
The first time you listen, you are listening to understand the story and the words. After you listen once, put the audio book away and look over your notes. Look up the words you didn’t know.
Now you’re ready to listen again, and this time you’re listening to learn. Now that you understand what the words are saying, you can listen more closely to things you didn’t notice the first time, like how to use a word in a sentence or how the reader’s voice sounds when they use a phrase.
Use what you learn
By now you should have a few new words, phrases, pronunciations and more that you learned from the audio book. So practice using what you learned! Use your new vocabulary words in conversations. Talk about what you just read with a friend. You’ll be surprised at how much you learned from just listening to someone read a book to you!
Yes, you can Speak English Fluently! If you liked this post, something tells me that you want to share it with others, don’t you? Well, I would very much appreciate it, thank you.